Poem: Enough

Dear conservative media,

I understand you guys get a bad rap at times,

But this time,

You went too far.

Tired of hearing from angry minorities?

Then you shouldn’t be hurting our own.

You’re the reason why kids like me felt

The obligation of choosing one facet of myself

Over another.

A game of Connect Four on the concept of

Race if you will.

“Which color goes through which slot?”

When did you choose Shaun King

As your new target?

Apparently your outlets are knowledgeable enough

To talk about people of color well.

Apparently you’re validated in comparing

Shaun King to Rachel Dolezal.

Weren’t you just defending her last week?

You’re part of the reason why mixed people

Don’t feel welcome to the table to stand up

For black lives.

You’re the whole reason why the One Drop Rule

Is still a thing.

A rule ingrained in unwritten social textbooks that

People forget need to be closed.

Shaun King’s voice is needed in this movement

You try so hard to be rid of.

He can speak on why majority and minority

Must collaborate in order to live in the free world

You attempt to call “post racial.”

Conservative media,

What the heck is “post racial”?

In terms of Team Color Blind,

Just because you see no evil,

It doesn’t mean there is no evil.

It regurgitates the need to compartmentalize

Our identity by saying we’re not enough.

Black enough, White enough,

Mixed enough, This enough,

Enough is enough, dear outlets.

Enough!

Dear Shaun King,

Your blog on growing mixed

Moved me to tears.

And you’re amazing for fighting against

Police brutality after false accusations

Tell you not to.

Thank you for pushing people like me to join

The conversation.

Thank you for not excluding anyone from this

Great roundtable of knights people only hear about

In fairytales.

Social justice can soon no longer be a fairytale.

So, dear conservative media…

Nice try.

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Gay Marriage Legal in the U.S.

Many friends of mine back in Greenville celebrated yesterday’s decision at Limelight, a gay bar downtown. It was great to see many gay couples celebrating on Facebook as well as the LGBTQIA community in general celebrate on many forms of social media. Even WordPress has a rainbow on their site settings!

This is a huge step towards equality.

In this hetero-normative society, it has taken YEARS to make same-sex marriage legal.

And right now, there are still youth who are bullied for not being straight, there are still gender biased movements and products everywhere you look, transgender people (especially transgender people of color) are still persecuted physically and emotionally, it wasn’t until recently that intersex individuals have very little recognition in social awareness, and most importantly, there are people who still have to go through the process of “coming out” even though heterosexuals such as myself don’t have to.

Don’t get me wrong, this is such a positive amongst all of the negative that has been happening this summer and this year. And it is still something to celebrate.

I couldn’t be any happier for my friends in the gay community. I just have to remember, and we all have to remember, that there’s still work to do.

Better Together

I made a New Year’s blog back in January, and one of my resolutions were to go to more interfaith events.

And when I say “interfaith,” I do not mean “inner-faith.” I have had difficulty explaining this before, but a lovely Anthropology and Religious Studies major explained it perfectly.

“Inner-faith” is when one talks about their religion, or talk about why they have no religion, and compare and contrast it with other religions as a way to show why, in their reasoning, is better than all of the other religions and the non-religions.

However, “Interfaith” refers to people of religious and non-religious individuals coming together to find common ground, while still agreeing to disagree; legitimately respecting one another. Wanting to know more about one another’s backgrounds, and how it helps them interact with one another in a healthy community.

I actually attended the Interfaith Youth Core Conference in Atlanta, Georgia back in late January. It is a conference for college students trying to bring interfaith community on their campuses. Therefore, this conference helped us learn how to be a part of the Better Together Campaign, an international interfaith movement all across universities.

It has made me understand so much more in terms of why religious and non-religious identity matters, especially in terms of social justice. Religion is a platform that leads us to talking about how the relates to race, sexuality, mental illness, disability, socioeconomic status, gender, and so, so much more.

I had the opportunity to learn more about why I, as a Christian, should be pursuing interfaith work. Especially with the amount of Christian privilege in this country and how Christianity has been used as a tool to harm others, when it shouldn’t. There are other examples with other faiths as well, but in America, specifically, Christianity has been, and still is, a big one.

Since then, my fellow peers, advisor, and I began the process of forming a Better Together organization at East Carolina University. And I am so excited and honored to being more involved in this movement.

A lot of my posts have been about my Christian faith, and very little have I mentioned other faiths.

“Write what you know” is the best and worst advice a writer can receive. What I said prior is an example of why.

Not that I will stop talking about my Christian faith, because how can I encourage others to talk about their own faith or non-faith if I can’t? Moreover, there are passages in Scripture for why this is another important facet of social justice and the pursuit of equality.

I honestly did not think that a New Year’s resolution would grow to have this much of an impact on me.

My Response to Pirate Rants Today

The East Carolinian have a section titled “Pirate Rants” in their Opinion section, where students can anonymously comment on whatever they please online to have published the upcoming issue of the paper.

Today, on February 24th, 2015, there have been Pirate Rants on the renaming of the Aycock dorm. Click these following links for more information: http://www.witn.com/home/headlines/CHANCELOR–Aycock-name-should-be-removed-from-ECU-dorm-292096921.html#.VOdoKUDIitI.facebook  http://media2.newsobserver.com/content/media/2010/5/3/ghostsof1898.pdf    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/19/duke-aycock-hall_n_5511580.html

The majority of the rants made me uncomfortable. Not because they were opposed to renaming, but because there was ignorance regarding the Black Student Union, the Board of Trustees, and why there were people for the renaming of the dorm.

These are my responses to some of the rants. This is not to make anyone angry, this only to bring light to the current situation on my campus.

“I am still confused on how the White Student Union Rant caused so much sh** but the BSU [Black Student Union] can push for something that renames a pirates home and people celebrate.”

The White Student Union Rant last semester was because East Carolina University is a predominantly white university. Because White people are the majority, that is why it was offensive. Maybe the person who wrote that rant did feel underrepresented as a White individual, and I am sorry if he or she felt that way. However, a White student is granted more opportunities at ECU and in other places in this country more than people of color. For example, when minority organizations ask for funding from SGA (Student Government Association), the first thing SGA asks is whether or not they have asked for funding from the Ledonia Wright Cultural Center. Majority organizations are not asked this question. Although affirmative action has been in effect for quite a while, a White person is still more likely to get a job than a person of color. The majority of the staff, the Board of Trustees, and even SGA are White. Although it is growing, there is still not enough representation for minorities on our campus, and other places off campus. The Black Student Union, other minority organizations, and members of the majority regardless of which organization they are in,  have been standing up for the renaming because it is a step in moving forward. It is a step for minorities to feel welcome in their dorms and throughout the college campus.

“Is it possible for students of other races to join the BSU? If not I don’t think they should be allowed on campus.”

Yes! Of course students of other races can join the BSU! Students of other races can join the Student Association for Latino Spanish Affairs (SALSA)! Straight students can be a part of the GLBTSU (Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Student Union), hearing students can join Silent Pirates, the list goes on and on! In my experience, I am not speaking on behalf of all students of color, cultural organizations have been more accepting of other people, including White students. That is because there is excitement in getting to know people who want to truly get to know you after experiences of rejection and being ignored. In my experience in majority organizations, I felt the need to change my way of thinking and change my mannerisms in order to be accepted, in order to avoid being a token, if you will. I have a tendency to be aware of whether or not certain mannerisms of mine are “too black” or “not black enough” regardless of who I am with, whereas most people of Caucasian descent do not have to worry about their mannerisms or their color until they are in a room where they are the minority.

“I’m proud of ECU’s history, so I erased the uncomfortable parts–Everyone who was for the renaming of Aycock.” “The Board of Trustees have no backbone.”

The Board of Trustees made an effective compromise on behalf of all ECU students. They did not just make the decision to rename the dorm, they also made the decision to represent Aycock and his contributions inside Heritage Hall, along with other contributors of the school. They do have backbone, and no one is erasing parts of history here.

I hope my statements have been taken into account. Thank you for taking the time to read them.

Social Media and Injustices

Today from 11 am to 2:15 pm at East Carolina University, many students, staff, and I participated in a protest in response to the injustice displayed in the media as well as the injustice not displayed in the media. We chanted fiery chants such as “injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere, we won’t stop until you care,” and “black, white, woman, or man, divided we fall, united we stand.” Posters had “Black Lives Matter,” “All Lives Matter,” “I’m Protesting for Those Who Can’t,” and a list of many black and brown individuals who were killed and/or missing and didn’t make the news in North Carolina. A variety of us stood in staggered lines with signs and loud voices that made people join, take their phones out to record us to share on social media, and the local news do a story. Our throats hurt, and it was well worth it. I received a majority of positive responses on my Instagram and Facebook.

However, my roommate has an app called Yik Yak, a more anonymous version of Twitter. She had said that throughout today, from the beginning of the protest, to the time it ended, the majority of that app went into stages.

First, it was “What are they protesting about?” “Why are they protesting?” “Don’t they have class?”

Then, it transitioned to “Why won’t they move out of the way?” “Black people being the victim again.”

Afterwards, it became complete ignorance with debates about welfare (seriously?), minorities causing all of the crime, and the need for white protestors for white issues.

She responded to as many comments as she could to have constructive discussion, only to have them drowned out by hatred and lack of information.

East Carolina University, although it does have a mandate for diversity, it has such a long way to go. It is majority white school, and on Yik Yak, many of the undermined comments disappear after a few times by majority comments.

I go to school with these people, and yet many believe that racism or other forms of discrimination no longer exist. It is not until moments such as these protests that people uncomfortably realize that it will continue to exist if we are not properly educated on all that is around us. Moreover, there are those who said that this protest won’t solve anything. Well, it is a start, and that is all that matters. Many areas displayed protests before we did, and hopefully others will after we did, which will lead to more awareness, which will lead to contacting those in charge, which will lead to gaining positions in charge for good, which WILL produce effective change.

Click the link below to continue spreading the movement. Bless you.

Thanks to all who stood with us today.

A post shared by Maya Williams (@emmdubb16) on

Poem: Seek Justice, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly

The Bible has often been seen as a doctrinal text.

Too thick of a book

With an infinite amount of metaphors of how to be

A good person.

The very old passages have a picturesque view of God

As an ethereal Hitler.

Unfortunately, the Bible hasn’t been read closely.

If one would read between the lines

Of conspicuous horror,

One could see the manifesto of Kingdom Living

Wanting to rise out of the ashes

Of Eden.

Wanting to go hand in hand

Into the Temple for all nations

And not the evil of a controlling supremacy.

Wanting to be delivered from Heaven on to Earth

To have Justice searched for to be served;

Mercy to be given, received, and loved;

Humble acts written not just to walk or run,

But to dance on the pages of our short,

Desperate, temporary, stories.

We have one chance in this aging realm

To have our literary vocal cords produce the goodness

God intended.

God does not promote

The heinousness that flows in and out

Of the cold caves of genocide,

Poverty, and discrimination.

Reconciliation is the ceaseless draping of

Fresh water for the thirsty life forces in every place

Known and unknown to man on Earth;

But the streamline is cut off daily

Through the selfishness of constructed superior privilege.

It is all Satan

Who created these evil fabrications

And the miserable outcomes of such.

It is Satan who makes the ignorance of the outcomes

Appear so relaxing,

As if a part of God’s call to pay no attention to,

Because Satan says it shouldn’t matter to us.

The convincing, fallen angel has the accursed gift to say that

It especially doesn’t matter to us

If it is not happening to us.

You have such beautiful, clean, fair, unblemished skin

That needs to be calm with no conflict, he soothes.

You deserve all of the fresh water,

Not the inconsequential

Ugly skinned, crippled, sexually immoral, flawed, and/or undeserving

People.

Obviously, Satan does not stand for all.

Jesus stood for all.

Not for supremacy of thieves and dishonorable hyenas

In our chaotic jungle.

Jesus stood for everybody.

Why won’t we do the same?

Gandhi said that he liked our Christ

And not our Christians

Because Christ erupted actual change

Out of his holy volcanic spout

For every underrepresented mortal

To finally be proclaimed as deserving,

To eradicate the lies the enemy has said

Of them being undeserving;

Yet the designated, advantaged individuals

Who should hear God’s call

Do nothing.

Gandhi also said

To be the change

You wish to see in the world.

Why don’t they want effective change?

Why don’t we want change?

It is the only light,

No,

Fire,

That when ultimately presented

Shows results for everyone!

Not just ourselves!

Majority and minority must come together

To pursue the diverse Kingdom Living

We were meant to have.

We aren’t meant to make the faulty sacrifices

Of lambs and firstborns,

We are to seek justice,

Love mercy,

And walk humbly!

What is so doctrinal about that?

Poem: For Michael Boyles

Note: This past Wednesday, I was told that my friend Michael hung himself. We were friends in intermediate school (5th-6th grade, I met him in the 6th grade), then we lost touch in the 7th grade, kept ever so slightly in touch from 8th grade to high school, and then we finally caught up with one another again. We’ve been chatting on Facebook and Skype for the past two months and I was so happy to catch up with him. I was going to invite him to Greenville and we were supposed to catch up earlier last week. I’ve been on a rollercoaster with my emotions and I’ve been up and down in my spirituality as well. Would I be this emotional if I didn’t catch up with him? I’m still not sure. On Thursday, I submitted one of his narratives to East Carolina’s Rebel for a chance for him to be published. Rebel is an arts/literary magazine they have published every year in the spring semester. They ask for submissions every fall. He was going to change the world with his words, and he is going to do that because I want that to happen. This poem is for Michael.

When one asks how you are doing,

The imminent way to please him or her

Is to say that you’re fine.

You make it appear as casual,

But you know it’s a crisp, soldier’s statement

In times of tribulation.

Your fellow citizens need affirmation that thing at least will be fine

Even if they aren’t right now.

Hardly anyone answers

“I’m pretty crappy today.

The sun is nowhere near my mental forecast,

But how are you?”

No one would ever say

“Oh peachy,

The plan to end my life is coming into fruition.

It’s ripe and ready to be plucked from.”

You told me you were going to counseling.

You said that things were just starting to get better.

I told him to talk to me whenever he needed to.

This is not going to be wrapped in ribbons

Or perfumed with roses for your family or friends,

That’s who the prayers are for,

This is strictly for you.

You’ve always enjoyed theater and films, Michael.

Was this your way to display a final performance?

You were supposed to be remembered by talent you had

With words that created pictures on a stage,

Not the talent of a dark disappearing act.

You’re not coming back anytime soon.

I’m not writing this to pity you.

I’m writing this to grieve over you.

It wasn’t enough to stuff the world into your back pocket

When it got too hard to wear it on your

Shoulders and sleeves.

That sucks so much!

We were just talking again.

We were announcing prophecies to change the world

As we ranted about blasphemies

That held them back from coming.

You were suppose to open the door

To finally let change come in.

You weren’t giving up on everyone you cared for,

You were giving up on yourself,

And that’s why it hurts.

Those who dare to call my friend selfish…

I can’t find the appropriate euphemism for

“Screw you!”

Well, maybe I can.

They don’t understand how selfless he was trying to be

In the oddest way possible.

To those who lie to post a show on social media

About how great his smile was

When you were the people who spewed enough fire

To obliterate that expression from his face while he was still alive

You’re no good Samaritans.

Unfortunately, you are twisted Pharisees.

To those honest about it,

Thank you.

To those who didn’t know him

And wanted to get to know him more,

You’re so sweet.

But where was that thought when he was still here?

I swore at God and had the intent of doing so

Quite a few times.

But my tea kettle for prayers

Have been left on the stove much longer than usual.

My inner steam and screams from boiling water proves

How much the infuriating questions I have

Condense for answers that hardly come.

Michael, I didn’t lose my faith,

You’re just making me question it.

We were just talking again.

It’s amazing how irony become a joker

From a Jack in the Box

When it comes to our psychology.

Five years ago,

I went to a counselor because I wanted to kill myself.

Now,

I’ll be crying to a new one once a week about how

You actually carried out that dark deed for yourself.

You were a fantastic writer.

Did you think about leaving a note before leaving us?

Thank you for the emails of your pieces.

More people need to see the scribbles

From the beautiful scroll you had in your mind.

I’m not sure if I should keep writing this.

I don’t want tears to drown me,

Nor do I want my heart to become a desert

Regarding the mark you had in this temporary

Realm.

I’m not sure if you can read this,

Or hear me read it,

But I hope my intent is still validated.

Thank you for catching up with me.

I miss you.

Note: He sang and performed so well on his YouTube channel. Here is a link: https://www.youtube.com/user/allisondontexist/videos I only have two other pieces of his, I believe, if anyone wants to read them. I believe they should be read. If you ever feel alone, please talk to someone. If you don’t feel comfortable to talking to someone you know, there is a free hotline, 1-800-273-8255, completely anonymous, and they are available 24/7. Also, go to a counselor near you, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. There’s no judgment in the room, you can say, cry, yell, and more of whatever you want. Hugs are good when going to counseling too. Please know how valuable you truly are. That is not a phrase to patronize you, You Are VALUABLE.